Can You Be An Actor in An Experiment?
The idea that a positive attitude is a good thing has been stated many times in many ways, and I think most people see the good in having a positive mental attitude. If you doubt its power, an experiment in the real world. Go to a store with only thoughts of disgust and hate. Look at anyone who looks at you like they are out to get you. Don’t speak to anyone just have a bad feeling about everything that happens and anyone that is in there. Your story is that this is a lousy store with terrible stuff, and they want to rip you off. When you get back to your car, take a deep breath. It will be ok. You were acting.
Now pick a different store and go in with thoughts of love for anyone you meet, and imagine that this is the best store with the best people. Don’t say anything. Just look with love and thankfulness at any experience, whether you deem it good or bad. Any person, no matter how they look at you. You’re experimenting, after all, so you must be an actor, and nothing bothers the person you portray. If you get a sore look, you understand that this person must be sad, and you have compassion for them. This person you’re portraying loves and appreciates everyone and everything all day and night. When you get to your car, take a deep breath and smile. I’ll bet you can imagine the results without going through the actual experiment.
To Be or Not To Be: A Choice
Which personality did you most relate to? Likely it is a little of both in some ways. Maybe you have moments when you feel overwhelmed or stressed and believe the world is doomed and everyone and everything is against you. You may also have times when you feel like everything is going your way and there’s great hope for you and the world. Maybe you have days you’re just too busy to think about who you are being. In our experiment, you were one, then the other, an actor. You were in charge of how you were going to act and think.
With this in mind, you can see that you can be anyone you choose to be. We are not limited by anything except how we perceive the current environment. What pushes us to act? Is it always a conscious decision? Maybe the habits, expectations, or stresses we’ve picked up before from our previous environments are sending us into fight or flight mode, pulling us into dream-like states where emotion takes over, and we’re no longer acting the way we want to act. Waves of emotion and feelings we can struggle to understand can lead to a bumpy ride from one actor to the next. We have the power inside to grab the wheel and drive. It is our Will, or our desire to be the person we choose to be, that powers us to overcome the waves of emotion.
A Strong Will or Desire
Can we choose how we act? Sometimes it may not be easy. I’ll bet in our experiment, it was hard to look at someone who smiled at you in the first store with a thought of hate and distrust, but you were acting for the experiment so that you could be the Negative Nelly. Their smile may have changed to a frown to match yours. The mental attitude is very powerful. A positive attitude was likely a much more pleasant experience, and you can choose to be Positive Polly even when you don’t feel like it. Or be Nelly and keep getting those cross looks thrown your way from the people you encounter because of a foul mood. You can choose anyone you want to be, and you do choose it.
We Are Always Choosing
Of course, you choose who you are. Who else is in there? It is the Will that can stand up and decide, and a strong Will gives you the power, the willpower, to see the big picture and be the person you desire to be in any situation. You can decide that “Today, at this moment, I will be loving, compassionate, full of light and joy with faith in success and hope for great opportunities.”
If you have a lazy Will or a lack of desire, you may find yourself being suspicious, blameful, with doubts about yourself, and fears about the world. Riding the waves of what happens next, and getting washed back and forth from actor to actor, willy nilly, with only the outside world and circumstance to decide which person you will be. Relax and take a breath. You’ve got this! The Will is a muscle that gets stronger the more it stands up.
Your Own Private World
Only you get to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think about this world. You are the only one! It is your private world. Every sensory experience is filtered through your brain and processed there for you to think about. When you see a bird, the image goes from your eyes and the sound through your ears to your brain to process the experience and maybe add a memory of another bird you saw once before. You have a private experience that can never be experienced by anyone not using your senses and brain. Your private world.
Your world! Nobody else gets to experience the world the way you do. They have their senses processing the world that they experience. It is genuinely your world out there, and the most empathic person can never see the world you see with your eyes. It is there for you, just you!
Things Happen, But You Can Decide
I’ll bet you’ve acted in ways you were not proud of or thought of as not like you. I know I have. We get taken over by our emotions to the point that we feel too overwhelmed to be the person we would generally choose to be. You can have a loving and positive attitude towards anything, whether you think it’s good or bad. Or you can believe the world is out to get you. It is truly up to you.
This is a sign in my studio. Come in thinking you can’t do something, and I’ll point to the sign and say, “You can’t do it yet!”. Often we decide something is hard or that we can’t do it before we even try. If you think something is a drag, it is. If you think you have had a fantastic experience, you are. We define it by what we think, and you are creating every narrative. Why must we have a narrative? Is the middleman on the loose?
A Mastermind with The Freedom to Choose
The mind is a powerful thing, and if you are a mastermind, you have mastered the waves of emotion in you and the turmoil that the world can throw at you enough to be the person you want to be all the time. You are not a slave to your feelings and emotions. You are the master of the tool that is your mind. A very powerful tool for you to use and a powerful master if you let it use you. It can bring you healing, or it can bring disease.
I’ve walked miles in the snow to satisfy a craving, a slave to desire. I was asleep to that desire and had lost my freedom to choose. Freedom to be who you wish and act the way you want is a human right, and people can’t always see that they can be in control when emotion takes over. The forest of emotion has blocked the path, and we’ve lost the freedom to be who we want to be in the moment. We become a victim of the environment or how the people around us make us feel. We forget about being able to choose the person we think is a genuine reflection of ourselves.
Good and Bad: A Wait and See Scenario
We can start with productive thoughts, making good habits, and forming the idea of the actor we would like to be and trying to go into any situation as the actor who has love and compassion for everyone with great excitement for what might come next and faith in the lessons gained by the process, grateful for any experience that comes their way. If we fail, we know that failure is part of the path to mastery. Failure is a good thing. Soon we will get it almost every time, easily.
If you think something is good or bad, you limit its possibilities. We cannot see into the future. We don’t have enough information to say whether this will be good or bad. Let’s drop the narrative. If you need a story, it will always be there to tell, and you can pick it up later. It is hard to say what is good and bad in life. I have had many “bad” things happen to me to get me here, and things are really “good.” Maybe those bad things were really good things I’d put a false narrative on. If I’d waited longer to judge, I’d have seen the path was leading to good.
The World May Get You Down
If you come into the studio with doubt, I will work to see that you leave believing in yourself. I often send students home with great attitudes and belief in themselves. They believe they can do anything. Only to see them back the next week, battered by their environments and in the same emotional rut of doubt and worry. I pick them up and dust them off, and we start building good habits and seeing past all of the fears and doubts that are out there. We focus on the moment, the music, and the task at hand so we can enjoy each musical phrase as it comes our way, without the story of good or bad. It just is, and good or bad, it is all good!
A Slow and Steady Pace
Progress in music can seem slow, and it is hard to see yourself grow, but if you enjoy “the doing” and the time spent learning and practicing, it will come naturally and quickly. If you go into the practice room with the attitude of “How long do I need to practice?” then you are on the slow road to playing and in the fast lane to taking the enjoyment out of music. I’ve seen professionals who don’t enjoy playing for a living. Do they like to complain? I don’t know, and they seem unhappy. If you’re down on music, let’s talk. My enthusiasm is infectious.
Life is Good, Believe It or Not
I can’t convince everyone that life is good and here for us to enjoy, but I hope you’ll see that you can choose how you think about it. We can decide who we want to be and define our success. We know that a positive mental attitude is a good thing, but the vital thing to know is that you choose your attitude, positive, negative, or something in the middle. If you choose a negative one, I can work with that too, and maybe you will thrive being negative, Nelly. The point is that you get to choose. It’s your human right. I recommend that you choose one that builds success. If we play with a can-do attitude in the practice room, there’s nothing we can’t do. We just can’t do it, yet!